That’s actually a great question. Someone recently entered that question into Google and, because I’ve written about link removals before, they found my blog. So, I decided to go ahead and answer that question. I’m sure there are others that would like to know if it’s safe to do so.
Let’s first look at the process of removing links to your website. You’ve already identified that your website may be suffering from the Google Penguin algorithm update. Or, maybe you have a manual action from Google regarding unnatural links to your website.
If you want to clean up your links, then I recommend the following:
– gather all your links from Majestic SEO, Google Webmaster Tools, ahrefs.com
– put into MS Excel and remove the duplicates
– use Link Research Tools to analyze the links
– identify the links you want to remove.
After you have your list, I usually recommend using ICANN’s whois to identify the site owners and send the an email, requesting that links be removed.
There will be site owners who respond to you, and they typically will remove your links out of courtesy. But, there are site owners who are taking advantage of the fact that you want your links removed from their site. They’ll want payment in order to remove the links, just like this:
We’d be happy to remove your content from our sites. Due to an overwhelming amount of requests to take down links on daily basis we are asking for a one time payment of $10 to cover our labor costs. Please forward $10 to firstname.lastname@example.org via Paypal and we’ll have your links taken down at once.
Thanks for understanding,
You need to realize that you requested those links be put on their website (in many cases). Or, you hired an SEO firm (not one I would recommend, though) who added those links to your website. These links are typically on social bookmarking sites and “directories” who will accept any and all links that are placed there. Oftentimes, with those low quality directories, there is a minimal fee to get listed, paid with PayPal.
So now, after you’ve identified the low quality links to your website, you want those links removed.
The site owner of X directory site says that it will be $10 to remove the links to your site. Is It Safe to Pay a Bookmarking Site to Remove Links with PayPal?
Well, the answer to your question really isn’t whether or not it’s safe or not. Frankly, you don’t have to pay, and you can just use the disavow links tool to tell Google to ignore those links. Make a note of those links and add them to your disavow file.
One option, though, is to pay them. Based on my experience, typically if those site owners are paid (via PayPal), then they do typically remove the links. But, just as paying anyone with PayPal, there really is no warranty, and as I’ve personally experienced, there can be some really ugly problem with PayPal. So, be prepared to lose the $10 you pay to get the links to your site removed.
You don’t have to pay, just disavow those links.
If you’re dealing with a manual links penalty from Google, though, I would make a note of all the sites who asked for money and make sure that is included in your reconsideration request.